Canal death inquest is told of frantic rescue bid
AHUSBAND dived into a canal in a frantic bid to rescue his wife after she fell into the water, an inquest heard.
Margaret Sanderson, 80, died after her jacket became entangled with the propellor trapping her under the boat.
The tragedy happened as the couple travelled along the Macclesfield Canal on the morning of July 13.
For 10 minutes her husband Paul desperately tried to pull her free, the hearing at Macclesfield Town Hall heard.
She was eventually helped onto the canal bank with the help of a passer-by and police, and rushed to hospital.
But Mrs Sanderson never recovered from her injuries and died the next day. The couple were making their way towards Macclesfield after spending the night at Bosley Locks.
Mr Sanderson said when they arrived at bridge 47 he left the boat to manually open it, while his wife steered the boat through.
He said after allowing a boat to pass his wife was reversing to collect him when she fell.
Mr Anderson said: “I still can’t understand how she lost her footing. Normally to reverse you would remain in the cabin. I can only imagine that she moved outside the enclosed area to adjust the rudder. Suddenly she was in the water. I followed immediately. The engine was still running and it was still in reverse. Her jacket was caught. It pulled her under and kept her under. I climbed on board and was able to free her from the propellor. It was a blur.”
Mr Sanderson praised the efforts of the police, paramedics and hospital staff, but added: “Her death has been heartbreaking for me.”
Mrs Sanderson, from Southport, died of multiorgan failure due to near drowning.
Recording a conclusion of accidental death, coroner Michael Wallbank said: “She fell over board and her jacket entangled causing delay in her rescue. She sustained injuries she was unable to recover from. It was a sad and tragic end to a long and happy life.”
Mrs Sanderson was born in Glasgow and later moved to London where she worked for the Navy and Army Institute.
She married Paul in 1962 and they had two children, a son Duncan and a daughter Catherine, who died six years ago. The couple also fostered many children.
They later discovered boating and eventually sold their home to live on a canal boat and spent 30 years on the waterways.
Margaret Sanderson died after falling from her boat into Macclesfield Canal